When I think of the types of things medieval Japanese culture has passed on to us—spare architecture, zen gardens, tightly controlled brushwork, tightly choreographed tea ceremonies, the careful discipline of various dances and martial arts … I have a tough time reconciling that with a suicide method as messy as disembowelment followed by beheading.
What’s up with that? How does such a restrained, neat, tidy culture as medieval Japan pick such a disgustingly messy suicide method as the preferred way? Why not throwing oneself from a cliff into the sea? Or death by poisoning? Or some form of strangulation? Not that any death is mess-free (there’s bound to be blood and some bodily fluids, no matter what…), but spilling your bowels all over the ground and then having your head severed by your buddy has to leave a stain on the carpets.